Title: The Lazarus Effect
Sum Up The Movie Using Other Movies: Pet Semetary plus Flatliners divided by Paranormal Activity
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: One Nothing Like the Sun albumout of five.
Brief Plot Synopsis: "Did you wreck the car?" "No." "Did you raise the dead?" "Yes." "But the car's okay?"
Tagline: "Evil will rise."
Better Tagline: "Hell is other doctors."
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Science science science "Lazarus serum" science science science "temporal lobe" science science "lipid barrier" science science science "WHAT HAVE WE DONE?"
"Critical" Analysis: Some people are going to go on and on about how similar (some would say "slavishly imitative of") The Lazarus Effect is to 1990's Flatliners. To these deluded know-it-alls, I would merely point out three things:
1. Only *one* person is brought back from the dead in The Lazarus Effect. 2. And she tries to kill everybody. 3. This movie has a black cast member.
In all seriousness, it's kind of weird how in all these movies, the experience of getting brought back from the dead brings to the forefront childhood trauma. In Flatliners, the med students -- another difference: Frank (Mark Duplass) and Zoe (Olivia Wilde) are actual doctors, who should presumably know better -- relive the horrible things they did when younger. Only in the case of The Lazarus Effect, Zoe doesn't want to make amends so much as kill every living thing.
The doctors' indiscretion can be blamed on any number of factors. The group has been testing its "Lazarus serum" for four years before achieving success (with a dead dog that ends up the most effective cast member), and mostly in the dangerously underlit laboratories that are the home of all horror movie scientists.
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The Lazarus Effect, unlike the burning apartment building of Zoe's nightmares, presents any number of potentially intriguing narrative paths. Maybe we should study this long-dead dog we just brought back from death in what is possibly the most stupendous development in medical history ... nah, let's take him home *that afternoon*. Maybe the ability to transcend death will show Zoe the truth about What Lies Beyond...nah, it just turns her into Evil Incarnate (complete with requisite all-black pupils). Maybe the serum's effect on the human brain could open knew philosophical mysteries to Zoe...nah, she'd rather just use her newfound abilities to toy with then predictably murder her friends.
In that respect, she's the most boring omniscient villain of all time. Quit screwing around in a laboratory basement and get out there to take your rightful place as the despotic tyrant ruling all mankind.
What's most depressing about The Lazarus Effect is that we *know* there's decent horror out there. From The Babadook to REC to, hell, Creep, also starring Mark Duplass (and let's not even get into what a bummer it is seeing him, Wilde and Glover making this kind of crap), it's possible to make scary movies that aren't lazy pastiches of others.
Director David Gelb made a splash with the nifty Jiro Dreams of Sushi, but I'm not sure what happened here. If hell, as the movie says, is the worst memory of your life on an infinite loop, I'd better clean up my act or I'll be watching The Lazarus Effect for all eternity.